Aston Villa vs. Newcastle: Key Battles That Will Shape Premier League Game
Despite the loss at St. James’ Park, there were encouraging signs from the Toon on Sunday, and boss Alan Pardew will be keen to profit from those positives in the second city.
Both clubs are desperate to put last season’s disappointments behind them, and ahead of what should be a revealing fixture, Bleacher Report looks at some of the key battles that will shape events at Villa Park.
Andreas Weimann vs. Fabricio Coloccini
Despite concerns in pre-season, Fabricio Coloccini started the campaign well against Manchester City, and he looked solid for the most part alongside Mike Williamson.
However, the Toon skipper will have to be at his best to keep Andreas Weimann quiet on Saturday after the Austrian’s match-winning performance at Stoke City.
Weimann’s pace and vision will need to be kept in check if the Magpies are to emerge with points on the board, and the forward’s confidence suggests he’ll be a handful.
Experience-wise, Coloccini has almost 10 years on the 23-year-old, and the Argentine’s know-how could well give him the upper hand at Villa Park.
Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood vs. Siem De Jong and Remy Cabella
Much of Alan Pardew’s aspirations this season rest on the attacking flair and creativity of new signings Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong—two players set to play their part at Villa Park.
Former Ajax captain De Jong is in line to make his Magpies debut after recovering from a calf injury, while all eyes will be on Cabella to see if he can replicate his exciting bow against Manchester City.
Charged with halting the duo will be Ashley Westwood—if he gets the nod over new boy Carlos Sanchez—and Fabian Delph, who were both used to good effect by Paul Lambert in Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory at Stoke City.
The pair will operate in front of their back four and will hope to nullify the advanced position handed to De Jong and the free role designed to encourage Cabella’s talents.
Charles N’Zogbia vs. Jack Colback
Newcastle United fans need no introduction to Charles N’Zogbia. The Frenchman spent five years at St. James’ Park before leaving for Wigan Athletic in 2009.
His ability could have a huge bearing on Saturday’s fixture now that the 28-year-old has fully recovered from the Achilles injury that saw him miss the entirety of last season.
Standing in his way if he’s used through the middle will be Jack Colback, who was a genuine man-of-the-match contender in Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City on Tyneside.
The Geordie midfielder is not afraid to put his foot in when it matters, and his energy and strength could well be used to neutralise N’Zogbia’s attacking instincts.
Aly Cissokho vs. Moussa Sissoko
It will be Cissokho versus Sissoko if the latter is utilised down the right on Saturday, and the clash could be one of the most explosive on display at Villa Park.
Powerful French international Sissoko is in commanding form for Newcastle United and covered every blade of grass during the season opener at St. James’ Park.
In the Aston Villa camp, summer signing Cissokho enjoyed an impressive debut for Paul Lambert’s side at Stoke following the left-back’s switch from Valencia.
All of which sets up their potential encounter nicely, and the two players who were born just 100 miles apart in central France could provide a fascinating sideshow.